Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Rant, rant, rant

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 30, 2009

    A reader — and I use the term loosely — expresses deep anxiety about a story in the Daily Mail, about the police being issued with hijabs in case they have to enter a mosque. When are they going to start issuing the police with kippot in case they have to go in to a shul, she complained.

    In some confusion, and given that I admit a built-in prejudice against anything that appears in the Daily Mail, I sought a little enlightenment. It turns out that the Avon and Somerset Constabulary have taken the interesting initiative of equipping its female officers with a uniform issue hijab. They are, in fact, £13 headscarves, embroidered with the force's name and logo, and are designed to be multi-faith: "They are designed to be used in any place of worship and can be used to cover the head or the shoulders. For example, plain clothes officers could use them to cover their shoulders in a Catholic Church, or they can be used to cover the head in synagogues."

    For the life of me, I don't see what is wrong with that. I imagine the Mail put a typically spiteful anti-immigrant spin on the story, but frankly, I think the police should be encouraged if they are trying to show respect for religious observance, of whatever stripe.

  • Toast of the town

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 30, 2009

    On the way to the bank, I noticed a display board outside Oddbin’s in Holborn proudly advertising one of the off-licence’s latest acquisitions; “Kosher Côte du Rhone”.
    Is it this an indication that kosher wine has now gone mainstream? Could m' learned friends at the High Court down the road be taking a new tipple?

  • Democracy. Take it or leave it.

    Danny Caro
    Jul 30, 2009

    Whilst living in a democracy has many advantages, there are many things that are still wrong with this country.

    For one reason or another, we have fallen into recession and I think it is only fair to say that bankers and the money men must taken their share of the blame.

    Then there are the weather forecasters. I am not saying that their job is easy but either it is going to rain or it isn’t. Either it’s going to be windy or there might be a light breeze. But how wrong they have been in recent weeks?

  • Is there something Rubens isn't telling us?

    Marcus Dysch
    Jul 29, 2009

    Watching the closing stages of last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, my mother pointed out an appendage on top of driver Rubens Barrichello’s helmet.

    The 37-year-old Brazilian was, seemingly, wearing a Star of David. Right in shot of the car’s on-board camera.

    I’ve been watching Formula One on and off for quite a few years. Long enough to have seen Barrichello racing around circuits all over the world. I couldn’t remember ever having seen the symbol on his helmet before. Nor had I any recollection of him having any Jewish heritage.

  • What an Ace Pepper

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 29, 2009

    To you and me, they may look like ordinary peppers but don't be fooled. They are credited with claiming more vitamins than any other variety. Called the ACE pepper, they were discovered in Israel (of course) and are now being developed by Marks & Spencer in Waltham Cross, Essex, where they are grown without pesticides.

    Apparently eating just one of the peppers contains all the vitamin C needed for a day, and half the recommended amount of vitamins A and E. Dr Simon Coupe, a fresh-produce technologist for M&S, predicts the vegetable will supersede other peppers in the future. He said: "We spend a lot of time and effort roaming the world trying to find new and inventive products." What next from the holy land, home of high-tech? A solar-powered self-peeling satsuma pehaps.


  • Going shopping

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 27, 2009

    Put yourself in the shoes of an official spokesman for a government which has issues with the US. How would you react to remarks by Hillary Clinton with which you disagree?

    Not like this, I venture to suggest:

    An unnamed North Korean official quoted by the state-run KCNA news
    agency calls Clinton "by no means intelligent" and a "funny lady."